All you want to know now

by Judith Brauniger

Now the federal government wants to help Ukraine with more weapons: seven “Panzerhaubitzen 2000” will be delivered. But what is a tank howitzer anyway? What is its use and what can Ukraine do with it now? Here’s everything you need to know and don’t know about howitzers, at least if you’re not a military expert.

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What are self-propelled howitzers and how do they work?

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 in Frankfurt: This model is now being delivered to Ukraine.

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Self-propelled howitzer is the so-called heavy artillery system, that is, a heavy military gun. It consists of a cannon on a tracked vehicle and thus visually resembles a tank. Germany supplies Ukraine with the “Panzerhaubitze 2000” model. According to the Bundeswehr, this howitzer can fire 30-40 kilometers, depending on the loaded ammunition, and simultaneously fire up to six grenades. The Bundeswehr explains: “The Panzerhaubitze 2000 is one of the most modern pieces of artillery in the world. Its strength lies in its accuracy and great combat distance.”

According to military experts, the Panzerhaubitze 2000 is a very effective weapon. says Thomas Wigold, RTL/TV Interview Military and Security Expert.

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What can Ukraine do with the new self-propelled howitzers?

Wigold says the Panzerhaubitze 2000 “is the heaviest Western-made weapon to date ever delivered to Ukraine”. According to the expert, most of the heavy artillery delivered to Ukraine so far has been Soviet production. In addition, the United States has supplied drones and other guns, “but not the size or quality of self-propelled howitzers,” Weigold said.

The guns are not only particularly powerful, they are also equipped with modern communication and positioning technologies. According to the expert, seven howitzers from Germany and five more from Holland could make a significant contribution to the war.

Military expert Thomas Weigold on howitzers: ‘That’s a good number’

How do Ukrainians learn to deal with the new self-propelled howitzers?

Since the “Panzerhaubitze 2000” is one of the most modern heavy guns in the world, it cannot be easily operated by a simple soldier. “Actually, self-propelled howitzers are a very complex weapon system that has all kinds of subsystems,” says Ralph Thiel, head of the Military Political Society, in an interview on RTL / n-tv.

Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Defense promised training of approximately 40 days in addition to delivery. In fact, quite short, as Ralph Thiel thinks: “Normally we’d be on this course for a year if we did everything hard and slowly. This 43-day course is a bit of a makeover.” However, many Ukrainian soldiers have prior knowledge of other artillery systems, which is why the duration of the training can be set very short, as the military expert explains: “It is a sporting mission in which you are trying to help the Ukrainians.”

Military expert Ralph Thiel: “Self-propelled howitzers are a very complex weapon system”

What speaks for and against the delivery of self-propelled howitzers?

Germany and many other countries want to support Ukraine. However, there is a lot of debate about whether handing over weapons is the right way to go. Proponents of extradition argue that the outcome of the Ukraine war could fundamentally change the future order in Europe. Therefore, the victory of the Russian armed forces must be prevented.

On the other hand, critics warn that Germany should not become a party to this war. The Ministry of Defense commented on this claim when announcing the new handover. “We continue to believe that this will not make us a party to the war,” a ministry spokesman said. Another point of criticism is that arms delivery could escalate the war. “If you look at the last eight weeks of US-Ukrainian cooperation, there are no indications,” says security expert Thomas Wiegold. The Russian side is very cautious about Western deliveries. There are protests, but no official reactions.

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